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A laser procedure to treat enlarged prostate - the most common non-cancerous prostate medical condition to develop in men by the time they reach their 60s - has been introduced to South Africa for the first time.

The holmium laser enucleation of the prostate (HoLEP) procedure was recently successfully performed for the first time in the country by urologist, Dr Amit Kalpee, and his team at Netcare Parklands Hospital in Durban.

A laser procedure to treat enlarged prostate - the most common non-cancerous prostate medical condition to develop in men by the time they reach their 60s - has been introduced to South Africa for the first time. Pic: Alan Hoofring (Illustrator), via Wikimedia Commons

The patient, on a Durban man, had a severely enlarged prostate, a condition known as benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH).

“A severely enlarged prostate causes uncomfortable urinary symptoms. HoLEP involves using a special high-powered laser to remove the gland and any tissue that causes obstruction of the urethra, through which the urine drains,” said Dr Kalpee, who completed the European HoLEP Masterclass and is the first HoLEP surgeon in South Africa.

“This resolves symptoms such as urine blockage, which can in turn cause bladder and urinary tract infections and potentially serious kidney complications if left untreated,” he said.

The procedure is done under anaesthetic with the assistance of a tiny camera which together with the laser instrument is mounted on a fine telescopic rod that is inserted into the urethra via the penis.

Kalpee said HoLEP is a modern alternative to the standard procedure known as transurethral resection of the prostate procedure (TURP) for bladder outflow obstruction due to enlarged prostate.

HoLEP requires specialist training and takes slightly longer to complete than a TURP, but it is less invasive and has a number of advantages over this standard procedure, including less bleeding and pain, and faster recovery time.

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